- The retail world is moving away from siloed channels and siloed data with the rise of omnichannel and customer-centricity.
- The future of successful retail merchandising requires breaking down data silos and working cross-functionally to access shared data for better decision-making.
- Retailers must integrate customer interactions across all channels to provide a connected shopping experience.
- Achieving customer-centricity necessitates moving from siloed, departmental data to connected data, enabling dynamic merchandising.
- Utilizing connected data and automation through AI merchandising experience platforms increases profit, value and customer satisfaction.
Introduction to Connected Data
Have you ever tried to make a decision without access to all the relevant information? Imagine being a buyer and having to make decisions without access to data from the sales team. The results would be catastrophic to your business, as you would not be able to see what is performing well versus what is not.
When your data is siloed, you can’t see the whole picture.
Breaking down silos and working cross-functionally within your organization is necessary for success in today’s retail environment. Traditionally, merchandisers have thought about and been organized based on product hierarchies. For example, someone is in charge of women’s tops, another is in charge of children’s footwear, etc. However, the future of retail will require successful merchandisers to think critically about their most valuable customers and create assortments based on their preferences.
To do this, there needs to be a shift from siloed, departmental decisions to cross-functional, collaborative decisions based on shared data and an appreciation that merchandising, planning, marketing, buying, etc. all must be in sync. The idea is to create one connected source of truth for the entire organization.
An Integrated Customer Experience
Before the rise of customer-centricity, retailers often looked at demand as building up through stores or geographies. Now, demand is customer driven. There has been a shift from what makes you money to who makes you money.
Breaking out of these old silos started with the rise of omnichannel – the integration of customer interaction across brick and mortar stores with ecommerce and social platforms. By dismantling traditional silos of looking at each channel independently, retailers are able to give customers a more connected experience across channels, which is representative of how they actually shop. To optimize the omnichannel retail process and continue personalizing your offering, merchandisers need to think critically about what the customer experience looks like. This means not only taking an integrated approach across channels, but also across data from teams within your business such as marketing, inventory, sales, product, etc. to see how all of these areas work together. The solution to this challenge is connected data.
The Need for Connected Data in Retail
Achieving true customer-centricity will require a shift from siloed, departmental data to connected data in order to ultimately achieve dynamic merchandising. Connecting data across departments within a retail business provides a holistic picture of your customer, the competitive landscape, demand trends and more. In dismantling old silos and moving from multichannel to omnichannel, retailers are thinking critically about their customers and creating a more customer-centric shopping experience.
To enable merchandising data maturity, it is helpful for retailers to understand where their business falls in the journey toward fully dynamic, customer-centric merchandising.
Here is what this process might look like from start to finish, moving from the most siloed, to the most connected data:
- Product-Centric: Where historical product performance, internal data and trend analysis are the basis on which the assortment is planned.
- Market-Aware: Where you understand how competitor pricing, discounting and assortment activity is impacting your performance and therefore make better decisions.
- Omnichannel Optimized: Where you have access to connected internal data and valuable new metrics combined with a global view of the market to better define merchandising strategies by channel and geography.
- Customer-Centric: Where you are intelligently connecting data to define the behavior of customer segments and take more personalized planning, trading and marketing actions.
- Dynamic Merchandising: Where you have the ability to dynamically and surgically merchandise, price and market your product at a customer level to maximize profit.
To determine where your business currently sits on this journey, you are welcome to take our free assessment here. Once you understand your current level of maturity, EDITED can help you increase the connection of your data with market data and therefore increase automation activity.
Automate Actions and Drive Results
Going from siloed to connected data not only allows for a more personalized experience for your customers, but it also takes you from manual to automated in your everyday job. Bringing data together from siloed areas can be a huge headache and distraction for your team. For this reason, EDITED does the dirty work of data collection, data transformation, data modeling and data prep so you can quickly find the signal through the noise. We believe that the more connected the data is within a business, and the more automated certain actions are, the more customer-centric your merchandising process is.
With EDITED’s AI merchandising experience software, merchandisers are able to think about individuals and personas, understand their buying behaviors to create more thoughtful collections and assortments, carry less inventory and improve first price sell-through.
The retail environment is continuing to change, requiring retailers to think more critically about their customers and how to drive value. Siloed data will no longer be acceptable as retailers continue to become more and more customer-centric. By accessing connected data, you can understand all aspects that make up your ‘customer’ and understand how to best serve them.
EDITED recognizes that the merchandising experience is an ongoing journey that involves continuous improvement and adaptation. As such, our platform will assist your retail business in focusing on this process through a range of services and solutions. With our expertise in connecting business analytics and external market data, EDITED offers valuable resources that enable businesses to align their merchandising strategies and operations with customer needs and preferences.